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Help me start saving money.

(19 Posts)
Carelesswonder Mon 24-Apr-17 22:41:21

I need some budgeting help please🙏 I'm a single parent to one 9 year old. Whilst my child never goes without and we can have small treats I can never save any money. Ever. There is always something that comes up every month. We are supposed to be going away to Blackpool in August for a week in a caravan and I've no idea how I'm going to save all the spending money for it.

I get paid roughly £900 p/m , tax credits £585 and child maintenance £400.

Monthly bills
Rent is £500
Council tax £95
Childminder £265
Gas/elec £65 just changed provider
Tv/broadband £32
Child's Karate lessons £11.50
Cubs £8
Mobile £35 ( contract up in October so will go pay as you go)
Tv licence £12
Credit card payment £50 ( total balance on card £200)
Leisure centre membership £29 ( price covers my child's swimming lessons and I can use It too.
Car insurance £25
Bank account fee £10 which covers mobile insurance, breakdown cover, travel
Insurance.
Food £45 a week
Petrol £20 a week.
Then there is the endless Birthdays, car maintenance, upgrading house stuff, clothing etc

Should I be richer than I think I am? All payments come in different times of the month so I have no idea what I have to live on. Any help would be greatly appreciated thanks

Grittzio Mon 24-Apr-17 22:50:32

I've started using a spending tracker app, you can pop in the dates of all your expense and income, and then I try and add every thing I spend money on, it definitely makes me think before I buy unnecessary purchases.

amistillsexy Mon 24-Apr-17 22:58:23

Which app are you using, *Grittzio"? Sorry, OP, I have no advice.I'm in overdraft every month 😕

3littlemonkeys82 Mon 24-Apr-17 23:08:54

Can you set yourself a monthly budget? Your bills based on this are around £1370 pcm, income is £1885 leaving £515 pcm? If you could set aside £265 a month for the extras you've mentioned birthdays/clothes/house etc you'd have £250 a month to save. So with 4 paydays between now and august you'd have £1000 spending money for your holiday.

I use a spreadsheet and mark everything off as it's paid and just generally try to keep track of what's being spent where.

80sMum Mon 24-Apr-17 23:25:59

The optional extras that you could choose not to take up are:
Child's Karate lessons £11.50
Cubs £8
Leisure centre membership £29
Bank account fee £10 (mobile insurance is probably included in your home insurance - and you don't need travel insurance for travel to Blackpool)

Are you paying interest on your credit card? If so, transfer to a 0% card and work out a plan for paying off the debt within the term. After that, always aim to pay the credit card bill in full each month.

Adopt the mantra - if I can't afford to pay for it at the end of the month, I can't afford it/won't buy it.

Birthdays, upgrading house stuff & clothing etc would also need to be trimmed to a minimum.

Leatherboundanddown Mon 24-Apr-17 23:45:02

Your outgoings don't seem excessive at all so where does the rest go? Once you clear the credit card this should help.

Is your 95 council tax already spread over 12 months not 10? Where is your water bill?

MrsMoastyToasty Tue 25-Apr-17 00:03:54

Are you getting single adult discount on your council tax?
Birthdays and Christmas. I only buy presents for children in our family who are under 18 or if DS is attending a party. Set an upper price limit for presents.
Budget for car repairs, mot and servicing. Work out how much it costs you per year and then divide by 12. My garage does a prepay plan for servicing.
Pay for your car tax by monthly direct debit.
Pay off your credit card ASAP. Unless you have a 0% deal then it's going to cost you more in interest than you could earn in savings.
Are you on a water meter? If not consider getting one fitted and ask the water company for a water saving pack.

AdaColeman Tue 25-Apr-17 00:14:52

Are your water rates included in your rent?
Going by your post you should have about £500 a month in hand, so saving shouldn't be a problem.

You need to find out where your money is going. Get a notebook and jot down absolutely every penny that you spend each day. When you've done that for two or three weeks, use that information to analyse what you are spending money on and what you could cut back on.

Make a list of all your regular payments and put it in date order, use that to do bank reconciliations with your current account, that should put you more in control of your outgoings.

Carelesswonder Tue 25-Apr-17 08:06:36

Thanks everyone for your advice. It's really time for me to have a tighter control of my spends.

Council tax has the single occupancy and I pay over 10 months I'm not sure if you can change to 12. I'm in Scotland so we don't pay separate water rates. It's all included in the same bill.

I will definitely start writing stuff down on what I'm spending my money and make a spreadsheet on where it all goes.

I get my hair cut once every six months at the local college for £6 but my son's hair cut costs £8 every 2-3 weeks. Maybe time to invest in hair clippers 🤔.

How stuffed would i be if I didn't have child maintenance. I'm really not sure how people manage without this. That is my only justification for paying for the clubs as I receive the maintenance for that.

Thanks again

Leatherboundanddown Tue 25-Apr-17 08:13:35

My outgoings are relatively similar to yours and I even spend the same per week on food as you. My rent is higher as are a couple of other bits.

I think if you tighten your belt a bit and get rid of the credit card debt and phone contract then it will make a difference to you per month.

I always deal in cash and withdraw my weekly spends. I allow myself £50 for this and out of that has to come any drinks/food out, birthday cards, bits and bobs, stuff from the chemist, stamps/postage that sort of thing. I don't spend relentlessly on my card and always check my balance each day.

Leatherboundanddown Tue 25-Apr-17 08:15:25

Also Blackpool tips, if you book pleasurebeach tickets online in advance before you go it is cheaper. Same with the tower activities but we didn't do these as they seemed a rip off.

BlowingThroughTheJasmineinMyMi Tue 25-Apr-17 11:30:00

Op we found the best way to break all money down for specific things so now we put X away a month for holiday, its not much but one year we didn't go away to give us time to build up a pot for holidays . Same for bdays our own dc and xmas.

We then have a separate fund for dc clothes and bdays they go too.
We have set amount to spend in week or at weekend, if we dont use all that it rolls to the next week for the same purpose.

Its tight and only small amounts go away to it - but it works for us. We know come holiday x amount is there for it - same for xmas and bdays.

It may be worth having a lean year to catch up?

BlowingThroughTheJasmineinMyMi Tue 25-Apr-17 11:31:01

We always deal in cash too and we know, every month for instance dc fund will have x going in, she has two bdays this month to attend, so money for presents comes from THAT fund, its not taking away from somewhere else.

TeeggieBeeggie Tue 25-Apr-17 13:25:43

It seems more of a problem with spending rather than with tightening your outgoings. Do you know where that spare £500 odd is going?

I use a budgeting tool called YNAB (You Need a Budget). I works like the envelope budgeting system, just in a digital format. As soon as I get any money I put it into one of my digital envelopes. I have an envelope for everything, the usual household bills, but also things like; birthday presents, car maintenance, work tea fund. Whenever I purchase something I check to see that there is enough money in that envelope to afford it, if there is I buy the product and log the transaction, this then reduces the amount of money available in that envelope. If there isn't enough money but it's something I really need then I need to move money over from one of the other envelopes to be able to afford it. The best thing is you never need to look at your bank balance. I used to get tempted to go on a splurge when I would see £200 in my bank but realistically I needed that money to stay there for other things.

I've been using it for 3 months now. Before I started I was perpetually in my overdraft and constantly waiting for payday. Currently (3 days before payday) I only have £7.58 in my entertainment envelope, so I'm feeling a bit skint sad However in my bank I have £1745.84!!!

It's really worked for me, so it might be worth having a look at. You get a free trial for a month I think then it's an annual subscription of around £40 (free for a year if you are a student), Some might think it's expensive but for me it's totally worth the £40 and I just create a digital YNAB envelope that I put £1 a week into.

aweewhilelonger Tue 25-Apr-17 14:53:08

You've made s great start with your budget: now you need to get into the habit of accounting for every penny that is spent. So if you pay cash, collect the receipts. If you use a card, use your statement to identify where each and every penny is going. You can't start to save until you know where ur money is going. We use YNAB budgeting software but a spreadsheet is a great way to start.

ijustwannadance Tue 25-Apr-17 15:04:23

Pay as you go doesn't always make the best deal or cheapest option. Look at what you actually need in regards to data allowance and call minutes/texts.

My decent smart phone contract costs me £13.50 a month. Just by switching data roaming off and only using wifi saves loads.

specialsubject Tue 25-Apr-17 16:14:36

Ideas :

Can't see contents insurance on that.
If you have home broadband can you lose mobile broadband when the contract ends? I get unlimited broadband and unlimited calls to landlines and mobiles at home for £22 a month.
That would mean a simple £10 phone which doesn't need insurance.
You can get full on breakdown cover for £50 a year and travel insurance for a UK trip is under £20 . so you can shift to free banking.
TV licence accounted for, so with free view there should be nothing.else.

AdoraBell Wed 26-Apr-17 00:02:20

Re the credit card, if you pay even a couple of quid over the minimum it will reduce the debt much faster than just paying the minimum. The best way is setting up a Standing Order for whatever the min is this month.

What sort of contract is your mobile on, will you own the phone at the end? If so you'll just be paying for the sim. I don't pretend to understand all phone contract.

buckeejit Wed 26-Apr-17 07:30:51

I really need to start saving too-have spent all my savings on last 3 years since having 2nd dc & pt job. Don't want to work longer so need to cut back-food & cooking is a good place to start

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